Shimla - An opposition Congress legislator Tuesday sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the commissioning and functioning of Indiaâ€™s largest hydropower project in the private sector in Himachal Pradesh.
Raising the issue at question hour, legislator G.S. Bali said he smelled favouritism in the allotment of the project and granting of relaxation to the Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corp Ltd, a subsidiary of the Rs.20,000 crore Jaypee Group, by the state government.
Jaypeeâ€™s Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project, located some 200 km from state capital Shimla, commissioned its first unit of 250 MW May 26, 2011. Subsequently, the other three units were also made operational.
"The company has been allowed to generate 1,000 MW (from the project) but as per our information, it can generate up to 1,400 MW (due to over-design in its structure). It has been extended undue concessions and benefits by the government. This needs to be probed," Bali said.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said a technical committee, comprising power officials, has already been set up to look into all the aspects, including its enhanced generation capacity, related to the company.
He said the approved capacity of the plant -- having four turbines of 250 MW each, as per the techno-economic clearance accorded by the Central Electricity Authority March 31, 2003 -- was 1,000 MW.
"Normally, all the turbines in hydro projects have been designed in a way that they have the capacity to generate 20 percent more power above than the installed capacity. If there is any violation, the technical committee will look into it," Dhumal said.
Bali said Jaypee "is not allowing government functionaries to inspect the project".
The chief minister blamed the previous government for granting extension to the company in scheduled commercial operation date up to Feb 18, 2011, without charging any extension fees.
"Even the previous government has waived off the companyâ€™s committed liability of Rs.22 crore towards local area development, which is wrong," he said.
According to the memorandum of understanding signed in 1993, the original capacity of the project at the time of allotment was 900 MW. However, in the implementation agreement singed in 1999, the capacity was enhanced to 1,000 MW.
The work on the Rs.6,903.37 crore hydro project began in April 2006 and was completed three months ahead of schedule.